A handful of tips to help you write the very first UX resume that will stand out and prevent you from common mistakes
I was a junior UX designer too and it is not hard for me to recall how long I was procrastinating to write my first resume for a junior designer position. I simply had no idea how to do that! To tell you the truth — I was not the first and the last on the world to face the fear that comes when you are just about to graduate and need to find a real job.
This moment is scary to most people, but it just feels better to get down to work and write the first resume and stop burning in the fire of “what if I cannot do it well and my resume is going to be a catastrophe”.
I gather a few advices from my colleagues and my own experience that can be of help and clarify doubts about what to do and what to do not:
#1 You are applying for a designer position — don’t use a free resume template
There are plenty of pretty free resume templates in the web, but they are not as original as you might think. Most of free resume templates use the same graphic patterns or elements and they often replicate the same design faults.
If you want to be a designer yourself, you’d better make some effort and present a graphic solution made on your own. It does not have to be perfect – nobody expects something perfect from a junior designer. Nobody will make a big deal of minor typographic errors. It is always better to show that you care and made some effort to present yourself.
#2 Do not be overcreative — good UX design should be readable
Being overcreative is another fault. Font pairing that is proper, adjusting column with and line height and providing enough of visual hierarchy will do the job.
You might have a Dribble account full of crazy eye-candy designs, but in a real job you are rather unlikely to do all the crazy gradient stuff you did at school. What will be expected from you will be delivering designs of certain legibility that decently communicate what they are meant to tell to a user.
Before you send the resume, you can do a guerilla usability testing of the resume itself. Find 5 different people and give them the following tasks:
· Find telephone numer
· Find software that the candidate knows
· Find description of project he or she did recently
And send the resume if your design passes this test.
#3 Goodbye to charts with software skills. Be descriptive instead
Expertise in using software is not measurable in points or percentages. This kind of charts do not communicate much about your skills. If you want to give an overview of your skills to a senior designer who will review your CV, be descriptive.
Sketch — this is my primary design tool. I know how to use symbols and plugins. The plugin I use most is Craft. I use shared styles for colors, gradients and fonts.
Axure — I know how to make a sticky header that appears on scroll and how to display different copy as an error state of a text input. I use dynamic panels.
Principle — I can design very basic interactions such as vertical and horizontal scrolling or a change of button style on hover.
#4 Skip generic buzzwords, be specific in terms of your professional knowledge
It is obvious that everybody applying to a UX designer position knows the notions listed above. Yet, listing them do not tell the recruiters what is the level of your knowledge. Be specific and list some notions from the professional language that you know and can apply in explaining your design decisions.
I know what is progressive disclosure and why it is wrong to display too much of information on one screen.
I have used such techniques as guerilla usability testing and affinity diagraming in my school projects.
#5 Decribe what was the biggest project that you did and prove you used professional knowledge for that
You are applying for a junior UX designer position, so nobody expects you to have a robust portfolio. Instead, better describe the biggest project that you did and attach a link to some mockups or a prototype.
My biggest project so far was my graduation project. For my finals, I designed an e-commerce platform for artisans. I worked with data-driven approach and used real photos that I found on other platforms with user-generated content. I wanted to omit the problem with designing unrealistic UI that can be ruined with unprofessional images taken with a smartphone camera. I did paper prototypes, I designed wireframes in Sketch and created a hi-fidelity prototype in Axure.
The advantage of being descriptive and specific in your resume is…
Have you ever heard about such word as framing? This is a cognitive bias that causes that people generally tend to pay more attention to the pieces of information that which their attention was drawn in the beginning of performing a task.
If you are asked on the beginning of reading a text if you find the vocabulary rich and poetic, you are likely to recall more poetic and stylish words that if you were asked to do so after you had completed reading. It is so because you were framed to pay attention about the poetic aspects of the language.
If you want to be asked during the interview about the topics you feel good and familiar with, you can use this cognitive bias to draw the attention of the recruiters in your CV to certain pieces of information.
Being descriptive and specific not only makes it easier for the recruiters to asses your skills, but also for you to have a good interview. If you want to be asked about guerilla usability testing, mention in your resume an occasion when you used this method. Do not say you are master of Sketch. Prove it by saying you know how to make RWD designs with only one artboard. Then be ready to explain the recruiters how to do it.
Designing reactions of people is going to be a great part of your job. Do not start an avalanche of questions you cannot answer by boasting about the skills you are not really so good at. It’s better to be humble and admit that you do not know everything, but something than to provoke questions that will show your weaknesses.
Good luck writing your design first resume!